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tv   Doug Brinkley on Neil Armstrong Recordings  CSPAN  July 26, 2014 8:30am-9:51am EDT

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the hill on "after words." >> next on american history tv, historian and author doug brinkley. he shares audio recordings and discusses a 2001 interview with neil armstrong, focusing on armstrong's passion with engineering. a student at purdue university and his historic trip to the moon. as was part of the nasa oral history project. it gives insight into the lives and experiences of the so-called nerdy engineer, and famously took one giant leap for mankind. the purdue organization sponsored this event. >> welcome, everyone, to the greatest adventure. neil armstrong and the moonshot. eaturing dr. douglas
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brinkley. >> we are excited to have you at this event. part of the purdue university forum series. >> i am a sophomore in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and i'm a member of the perdue institute for civic communication. or picc. >> i'm a senior double major in political science and economics and i'm a student assistant to the executive director of the picc. >> this forum demonstrates the ssential links between the humanities and engineering. going to the moon requires more than just science, as do
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solutions to most challenges facing our world. i have not worked on projects as exciting as the moonshot yet, but i have worked on robotics teams. people like me on the engineering side thought we were the lifeblood of the team because without the robots, we would not have been a robotics team. the humanities side, writers, artists, speakers, thought they were the lifeblood because without the community support, there would be no team in all. both perspectives were right and they were wrong. engineering and humanities are opposite sides of the same quation.
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technology is most valuable when it integrates human needs and esires, understands the impact on society, employs effective communication, and recognizes the human efforts that made it ossible. >> as a student in humanities, i have had similar experiences. students view situations through their respective lenses. working for solutions on diverse teams. hey have given us innovative classes, leadership and networking opportunities.
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and forums, like this one. it is our platform for making the most of communication skills we need to succeed. i cannot fully express the extent to which the close relationships i have built this institute have helped me grow both professionally and personally. students are giving access to industry leaders, journalists and analysts and other great communicators, and now, the founder and executive director -- >> good evening, everyone. let's hear it again for hem. we have them write their speeches and deliver them. we have them produce forums like this. they come on experiential learning classes. we take students to washington dc. we spent two weeks there. e send them for summerlong internships in partnership with our friends at engineering. this year, we will have 10
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engineers going to washington dc, taking a class, and working in a meaningful internship xperience. that is real learning. it is real world application of what our students have learned in the classrooms here at purdue. it will help them have a leg up when they go out to use the degree that they worked so hard o achieve. so if you are not a member of pic c and you are an undergraduate student, we are university wide and why have you not come by? we want the doers of purdue to be part of pic c. that means we will test your abilities. if you're not comfortable writing a press release, guess what i'm going to ask you to do? if you're not comfortable speaking, guess what i will ask you to do? i will ask you to come up with thoughtful questions for our guests, like doug brinkley tonight. we will make sure that you have the best learning experiences ever learning from the people at
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c-span and washington dc. last year we went to the white house and met with members of the national security staff. we met with speaker john boehner, we met with both indiana senators and we met with top officials. just to name a few of the things e did. so go to our website, it is on your brochure that i hope you picked up on your way in. and give us, send us an e-mail, give us a call. we would love to welcome you on board. did i mention that we give out tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money next to our generous donors, including the daniels fund which has made the pic c possible. would like to introduce to the person who will be introducing our president, the dean of our college of engineering, leah amieson.
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>> thank you, carolyn. before i say a few words about the connection between neil armstrong and perdue, i am going to echo what carolyn said about his incredible partnership between pic c and engineering. articulated by carolyn, articulated by the students in their introduction. he partnership between the liberal arts, between communication and engineering is probably the most promising hope we have for changing the world. i am very grateful to be able to be a partner and be part of this this evening. i'm survey going to say a few words about the connection between neil armstrong and perdue. simplest description, purdue's
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ost famous alum, bar none. certainly, the iconic image of his first step on the moon has come to represent the dreams and aspirations of a nation and overtime of the world. perdue, i believe, is much more ersonal. images of, and remembrances -- and memories of neil armstrong resenting to purdue president a flag that he carried with him on his gemini eight mission. blueprints on our campus outside the neil armstrong hall of engineering for children to take their own giant leaps. cast from the astronauts boots that are preserved in the smithsonian. our own purdue images that include neil armstrong waving the perdue flag, beating the world's biggest drum, and literally thousands and thousands of students, faculty staff, visitors, own the
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memorable images, with the statue of neil armstrong as a student. it is more personal i find, as i travel around the world and meet people from purdue, graduate student alum's who talk about being a teaching assistant and having meal in class and always noting that he was a really good student. ecently, a purdue alumna who
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grew up in ohio who met neil armstrong at a local outreach event, she was a high school student thinking about college and relating that he was the one who convinced her that she should not stay in ohio, but she should come to perdue, study aeronautics and astronautics, and then stayed in touch with her throughout her college career and throughout her career at nasa. and my own personal experience of having him greet me with a huge smile and a out, which is something i will never forget. for many of us, part of that special connection absolutely includes neil armstrong's pride in being an engineer. he was someone who did not demonstrate pride, rarely like to talk about himself, but he absolutely liked to talk about engineering. giving credit to the army of ngineers who made space life and the missions possible. he said that some people see the glass is half empty and others as half-full, but an engineer always wonders why the glass is wice as big as it has to
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e. e talked about engineering and his personal definition of engineering that it is about what can be. it is the single best definition of engineering that i have ever heard. neil armstrong, more than anyone in memory, gave us an unforgettable image of what can be. the special place that neil has in purdue hearts was never clearer than at the memorial service organized wise dude and studios after his passing. for as far as the eye could see, at the corner of stadium and northwestern, people filling that corner surrounding armstrong hall to remember him. students who were far too young to have watched the first step on the moon, faculty and staff, people from the community, all gathered to remember neil armstrong.
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in our own way, to say you belong to the nation, you belong to the world, you belong to history, but in our hearts, you will always the a boilermaker. this connection lives on and is certainly one of the things that make being from purdue for special. is my honor now to introduce perdue's chief boilermaker, resident mitch daniels. [applause] -- president mitch daniels. >> welcome all. it is not a new concern, it is not a new worry that americans know far too little about their history and about our
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tradition. every year, someone takes a new, depressing survey of our fellow itizens. in 2012, one showed that only half could name the war in which the battle of the bulge occurred. fewer than half new groovy american general was at yorktown. some thought it was grand, some thought it was robert e lee. this was a multiple-choice test. only one in six new that the phrase of the people, by the people, for the people comes from the declaration of independence. that was a test, by the way. over half of them thought that, however. i might have said it by way of preface, these are college graduates on whom i am reporting. now, a nation, as ours is united, not by ethnicity, not by
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tribe or religion, but solely united by an idea and by and ideal. a nation that made history, in fact, defy the human history of domination by kings and tyrants and generals and authoritarians nd created a nation by consent of the governed. f, in that nation, plural this to be unum, we better have great historians. more than that, we need great storytellers. people that need to reach out broadly, to an entire population of people who would be free and elf-governing. and teach them the history and
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remind them of their traditions, of things that ought to bring us together, and ought to make us proud. our speaker tonight has typical midwestern modesty, the same honesty we associate with neil armstrong, described himself as a storyteller. as you will know or will have read already, he is a distinguished professor at rice university. he is the author if i don't miscount of 36 books here he is so prolific that the number must slip out of date on a regular basis. if i can just mention one personal debt that i owe him, his book, wilderness warrior, a magnificent survey of theodore oosevelt's life and career and commitments to conservation motivated me in a previous life o work extra hard on that same
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cause and to get some things started in indiana which have taken us beyond -- well beyond any where we were before. i would date much of my intensity in the interest of that subject to that wonderful book that he brought us. across a body of work he has written about history shaping individuals from a from theodore roosevelt to henry ford to james forrest. history shaping events like world war ii and unification of europe. history shaping phenomena like the mississippi river, hurricane katrina. if america had one named and historian laureate, our guest tonight would certainly be our choice. tonight, he is here to talk about a subject of very special
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interest and pride and reverence to every boilermaker, every friend of this university. it is a topic one might hope could become the subject of book number 37 or 38. in any event, we are about to be treated to the personal reflections about our most esteemed and favored gift of the nation by another real gift to the nation, please welcome dr. douglas brinkley. [applause] >> well, thank you very uch. i want to say governor, but i'm so used to seeing governor, not just president. governor daniels is someone i've admired for a long time. he is somebody who looks at issues and grabs him by the scruff of the neck and comes up with new ideas.
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it is truly an honor, governor, for you to introduce me. also, i want to thank my friend brian lamb and his marvelous school of communication here. brian is a man of blinding integrity. anytime i am in his presence i always feel very honored. he is a very special -- he is very special to me and this is my first time to perdue. my wife and is with me here in the front row. we're going to be searching around, meeting students tomorrow. i'm greatly looking forward to my time here. i got involved with neil armstrong i suppose because i was a boy growing up in ohio when -- in a town called perrysburg near toledo just down the road not too far from wapakoneta. i was born in 1960.
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i was nine years old at the time of neil armstrong's going to the moon. that was everything for me. some people talk about remembering vietnam war. either member that and remember watergate, but just what that meant when the hometown boy from ohio and from purdue university went that far to the moon. it broke the shackles of earth or the first time. imagine how excited i was when i got a chance to interview neil armstrong. it happened at a very odd time in american history. just days after 9/11 happened in september 2001, i was in new orleans. nasa had asked me to do an oral history. i won't get into all the details about that, but i was going to get to do an oral history of neil armstrong buried he turned 70 and said he would do one for nasa. they wanted somebody like myself
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who had some enthusiasm for the topic to come down to johnson space center and interview him n houston. well all airports were canceled. everything was shut. i figured there goes my interview. i finally get the reluctant hero, that is neil armstrong's nickname, the reluctant hero. even his family calls him a reluctant hero. he doesn't like talking to the press. now on 9/11, this is a washout. no, he said i don't cancel things. he flew his own way from cincinnati to houston. it was an old-fashioned lesson in carry-on. and i have to prewarn you here. there are many great aeronautical engineers in the audience are associated with purdue university. i am not that. i almost embarrass myself on it for started talking and nterviewing mr. armstrong,
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because at one point, i remember it is in the transcript to prove it, i did a real humanity's question. i said, mr. armstrong, do you ever just get out there and stand and look up at the moon and say, my gosh, i was there? no, i don't. [laughter] and that was it. and it wasn't that he didn't like me, he just didn't process like that. in fact, not only is he a boilermaker, but he was most proud of being an engineer. he thought engineers got short shrift in american history. one of the quotes he said that i like a great deal is, i am and ever will be a white sox pocket protector nerdy engineer. i take substantial pride in the compliments of my profession. science is about what is. engineering is about what can be.
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my lecture today is about what can be when an engineer puts his mind to something. you all know people here who knew neil armstrong slightly. he never really liked the idea of the celebrity hero articularly. the thought of leaving having a lecture on his life and his biography, he would be a little allergic to the concept. he has a great authorized biographer, james hansen, who did a book in 2000 five. -- in 2005. i recommend it all to you. i was lucky enough to review the new york times when it came out. it is terrific, and has some of the more detailed information
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about his life. if my talk spurs you on to read one book, that is one i recommend. i mention neil armstrong's flying down to houston for his oral history interview. it reminded me in some ways -- i had done my homework at the time getting prepared to interview him, when in 1947 when he was only 16 years old, he left the town to wapakoneta and came here to west lafayette. most kids would have the parents take them. here's just coming to do his paperwork to enroll, but at age 16 flew here from ohio, a couple hundred miles. he landed here, fill out his papers, and went back to his town, wapakoneta. how many kids at that age could do that, and particularly in 1947, that was already so ccomplished at flight. he had got. -- gotten his pilots license before he got his driver's
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license. he was born august 5, 1930. stephen armstrong, his father, for the most part work for the state of ohio as an auditor. this meant that he had to move around constantly. his father was very stern. the famous saying was, straighten up, to his children. a loving father. but tough. his mother viola louise angle before she became viola armstrong, she was a very devout christian and always talked about god's faith and her belief n the bible. as any child, those were the two seminal influences on him. what i said that they moved around a lot, wapakoneta gets the credit for neil armstrong. and of course today, the museum is there. i recommend you go. i just wanted to name to some of
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the moves, 16 moves in 14 years. here's a list of his ohio odyssey towns. lisbon 1930, war in 1930, ruffino 1931, shaker heights 1932, cleveland avenue -- cleveland heights 1932, war in 1933, jefferson 1934, war in 1930 six, malta 1937, st. mary 1938, upper sandusky 1941, all -- wapakoneta, 1944, where he graduated from high school. all in the state that likes to boast first in aviation. his love of being a pilot was not that unusual for that era. here at purdue were i will mention in a second, i don't know if a lot of people realize,
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but a man named cliff turpin in 1908 helped the wright brothers redesigned their engine and their controls, not early, from purdue university. the wright brothers were great heroes to any kid growing up in ohio because of their famous bicycle shop near dayton. it celebrates aviation as much s you do here at purdue. 6 years old, neil armstrong goes on his first flight. he goes up in a ford try motor, the tin goose. it obviously had a big impression on him or at least it is one of the ones he was willing to talk about as an adult. at that point on, he seemed to be quite hooked about it. there's a story about his love of aviation. armstrong has never refuted it. believe me, he refutes a lot of
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stories said about him. i feel very bad for him. he had a lot of people say wrong things and he always tried to correct the record. these errors would -- errors would creep back. bubbling nothing -- probably nothing drove him crazy her. he kept having a reoccurring dream. he said i could, by holding my breath, hover over the ground. nothing much happened. i neither flew nor fell in those dreams. just hovered. the indecisiveness was a little frustrating. i just hovered. if you know anything about neil armstrong, he never talked about anything that might be considered vaguely occult or mystical. certainly, we all have reams. this notion of covering and floating, and when you think about it later, what happens when you're in space, you can see where the dream circulated. the novelist norman mailer in his novel fire on the moon which
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is sort of nonfiction new journalism in which he tries to milk the dream for a lot of insights. armstrong always asked people not to think much about hat. people had dreams that didn't add up to much. just like when he was a boy he climbed a tree as all boys like to do in the midwest. he fell 15 feet and hurt himself terribly. he is trying to man up and not be in pain. finally he said go get mom. he was in such excruciating pain. when people asked him, did you have something about getting high, you need to be in branches, he said everything i learned from that is never trust a tree branch. it was a typical answer of his. he never wanted to read too much into things. by all accounts, when 1969 happened at the time of apollo
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1 and journalists were all around. suddenly, all as of the towns collecting stories, everyone said the new neil armstrong and had a neil armstrong story. i got to be the biographer of rosa parks. i believed there were 13 people on the bus on december 1, 1955 the day of her arrest. i interviewed 37 of them. everybody was on that bus. now everybody in that part of ohio had a neil armstrong story. one has to sift through it all. what is true is that he absolutely loved model airplanes, built them, both them so they could work, built them so they could fly. undeniably, beyond parental undeniably, beyond parental influence, the big deal was the boy scouts of america.
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he was a boy scout all of his life. the scouts are often talked about in presidents and the scouts. theodore roosevelt was the big champion of the boy scouts. when it got founded. fdr, a big champion of the boy scouts. i don't know if you realize it, but he contracted polio in 1921 from swimming at bear mountain state arc about 90 miles north of new york city on the western bank of the hudson. he was swimming with kids with the poliovirus and fdr contracted it. pluribus is to be it manifested itself in his summer home. they called it a cottage. it was 36 rooms. he could not feel his lower half. he talked about the boy scouts as the greatest thing in america.
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after march of 1933, he created the ccc, 250,000 young men planting trees and parks. digging irrigation ditches. not often talked about is -- i want to read this statistic. of the 294 individuals selected as astronauts between 1959-2003, 200 of them were boy scouts. four out of every five astronauts were boy scouts and stayed active in scouting. many of them made it to the eagle scout level. of the 12 men who walked on the moon, 11 were boy scouts.
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this is so important. when neil armstrong was here, he did not take things lightly. he was not glib. when he was in apollo 11, in 1969, while flying towards the moon in the columbia, armstrong said, "i would like to say hello to my fellow scouts and my scoutmasters at farrington state park in idaho having their national jamboree and send my best wishes." here he is, thanking the scouts at a jamboree in idaho. getting a call out that the whole world heard. that was his thank you to what scouting meant to him.
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when you do oral history interviews and you talk to people who knew neil armstrong, you can find things that are similar. whether you talk to engineers or test pilots or astronauts or hometown or family members, everyone agreed with what eugene, the head of nasa said, he never got angry. he had the commander mentality. he never got angry. it was hard to find circumstances where he was angry. he could forget something or make a mistake. that was an emotion that he refused to let out.
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he bottled that up. he was too self-willed to show anger. he is leaving ohio to come to purdue and to go to college. you guys should be proud of boilermakers here. he got accepted to m.i.t. and told m.i.t. no. why he chose purdue was because of the great program that already existed here and he did not feel that he had to go that far away to get a good education. as you all know, he was in love with ohio and purdue. after he walked on the moon, he moved back to cincinnati. michael collins, the third of the apollo astronauts, who was in the columbia, went armstrong left nasa to go to ohio, he took a swipe at him.
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he said that neil armstrong was locking himself in a castle and pulling up a drawbridge by going back to the midwest and abandoning the fame of being in washington or new york. armstrong usually did not fire back. he said about collins, you know, those who live in the hinterlands think that the people inside of the beltway have the problem. he wanted to get back to his roots. what he decided when he came to purdue and why aviation meant everything -- i want to read a line. by the time i was old enough, things had changed. the great airplanes that i had revered were disappearing.
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the chivalry of the world war i pilots, frank luke, eddie rickenbacker and billy bishop. by world war ii, ariel chivalry aerial chivalry seems to have evaporated and air warfare becomes impersonal. the record-setting flights, harold gaddy, charles lindbergh, across the corners of the earth, had all been accomplished. i resented that. for someone who was immersed and fascinated and dedicated to flight, i was disappointed by the wrinkle in history that brought me along one generation late and i had missed all the great times and adventures in
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flight. he came here, you know, not knowing where the field was going to go. he came to purdue because of the plan. governor daniels mentioned this. i wrote a biography. forestall pushed the holloway plan. he wanted to push a post-graduate school. the scholarship allowed neil armstrong to come here at purdue. we talked about coming to purdue in the 1940's after world war ii.
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i want you to keep this in mind, in that era, less than one in four americans received a high school education. fewer than one in 20 ever went to college. let alone graduated. it was a big deal to go to college. purdue's interest -- i am embarrassed to talk about it with some in the audience here. purdue produced 23 astronauts. 35% in recent years of all of the recent space shuttle astronauts have gone to purdue. the first man on the moon was from purdue. the last man on the moon was also from purdue university.
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when he started the engineering program, it was from september 1947 through january 1955. it included a three-year stint in the military. he had 7.5 years here one way or another. it became an amazing era in aeronautical development. it was different then the pilots that neil armstrong wanted to be like. you had things going on here. dr. von braun out in white sands, new mexico, making the v-2 missile. the department of air force was part of the truman administration and navy administration -- aviation became large because of aircraft carriers.
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neil armstrong was a naval aviator. people thought he was in the air force. he had a great time in a fraternity on state street. phi delta theta. he met his future wife here at purdue. i do not want to gloss over it. his real education is being part of the korean war. he got his jet pilot wings when he was called to active duty in pensacola naval air station in florida. this is a time when the cold war is really heating up and president truman had signed a 5,000-mile guided missile test range area to be established at cape canaveral.
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he is the engineer pilot. so young you would look at him and want to ask him for his id. here he is as the first american, you know, on the moon. he is getting his first times really flying and extraordinary ways in the korean war. from 1950-1953, he went on 78 combat missions. that is just a number. in museum business, you study one combat mission and it tells you more about the others. that is about 121 hours and the -- in the middle of the korean war doing high risk combat missions. the most famous one is september
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3, 1951. he has to eject himself from the panther because he had ran through anti-aircraft cable and it had knocked off 6-8 feet of his right wing. he was flying so low that he hit a cable and had to eject himself. he said, if you are going that fast, the cable makes a good knife. it just cut the wing. part of this time in the war with the heroics and, you know, taking the fight to north korea and landing jets on aircraft carriers on the uss cabinet and the uss right. -- cabbot and the uss wright. i asked neil armstrong about james's time in korea. he said, -- i thought he would not like the novel.
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a lot of people in the military do not like what is being fictionalized as war. he was a good reporter. here's what armstrong said. i thought it was an excellent representation of the kinds of flying we were doing. it was identical. they put girls in the movie. i did not remember that from my experience. he was on our ship and went for three tours. he would sit around the ward room and the ready room and listen to us tell stories. he did not ask questions.
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he absorbed it all. most of the things that happened in the book, which is a different book than the other books he has written. they were actual events. they were basically all adaptations of true stories he was told. so, you want to understand that if you read this book and his fictionalization, you understand why neil armstrong won a gold star and a service medal and why he came out of the war so incredibly decorated. keep in mind with korea how excited everyone was when the war finally ended. harry truman used to say that to err is truman. he was so unpopular.
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korea was dragging on. eisenhower runs for president in 1952 by saying that he will get us out of korea. i am going to visit. this is the eisenhower plan to get out of korea. he wins and we get out of the korean war. it is over. neil armstrong had an intense experience. he had a band of brothers with his naval aviators. he comes back to purdue and ends up, you know, trying to decide exactly what he is going to do in his life. by 1957, he gets to fly in his first rocket plane, a bell x-1b. there are many great stories about what it is like in the desert. i asked neil armstrong about the movie, "the right stuff." he, i talked to him about you
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here -- joeger. he tried to land on an area that was difficult and the plane got stuck in a dried-up lake. yeager lorded it over armstrong a little bit. they were very different men, chuck yeager and neil armstrong. he had such composure. he was more of a flight boy. more like buzz aldrin. chuck yeager was not afraid of braggadocio. armstrong was afraid of being seen as bragging.
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at this time, here he is at edwards air force base. by 1957, it is the big moment when we have sputnik. history changes and the soviet union launches sputnik one. the thing that amazes me is that sputnik was the size of a beach ball. it weighed only 183.9 pounds. but the whole world heard about sputnik and it only took about 98 minutes. it orbited earth on an elliptical path.
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that ushers in a new political, military, scientific and technical age. when sputnik was launched, the united states did not see it as a one-off event. a space race began. eisenhower created nasa and space now becomes a big deal. can we play -- i have a little -- let's play a little bit of neil armstrong talking about where he was when he heard about sputnik. >> yeah. i was holding a symposium in beverly hills. 1957. i was working on -- i think i may have been program chairman. i am not sure. i was very much involved in the symposium. the los angeles press was interested in the kinds of technical presentations that were being produced there and getting a little coverage of what our industry was doing and what was happening.
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it was a hard sell and it became completely impossible when it came across the sky and we could not get any people to listen about airplane flying. >> i had written about walter kronkite. he was a military reporter. cbs decided when nasa is created that they will start covering the rockets that are going to fail or not fail.
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it was cheap. it is a camera on a site and kronkite rises to fame on the coverage. tv is just coming into play now. john f. kennedy becomes the gray television president if fdr was the master of radio, said he was the master of the press conference. -- kennedy was the master of the press conference. you get john glenn's extraordinary feat in 1962 when he becomes the first american to orbit the earth. it is a "back at you" moment. alan shepard was a hero of the
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kennedy years. as his launch vehicle propelled the mercury space vehicle, it allowed glenn to circle earth three times and the flight lasted for 4:55. the time seemed to stand still. everyone watched on television. a huge screen was built in grand central station to see john glenn. remember that he disappeared for a little while. nobody knew if he was dead or alive. cronkite was covering it all and he comes down and became the great hero. a group of media people rushed to john glenn's mother and said, are you going to reunite with your son? you must be so excited to see him. mrs. glenn said, i am really excited to meet walter cronkite.
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he had become a star. in fact, cronkite got the anchorship. cbs and all of them went space-mad. our country is in on it and neil armstrong is part of this, what i call, the greatest adventure. the greatest adventure is when john f. kennedy goes to congress and rice university. he says to rice university that we are going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. of course, he does and we do. kennedy gets high marks in history for achieving that, even though he was killed.
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the gemini programs kick in. they were going to be called the new nine. there was intense training and the media started covering it all. you also had the apollo one blowing up on march 16, killing gus grissom, a purdue alum. and, killing ed white and roger. the one time in my interview with mr. armstrong when i got goosebumps was when he said -- these guys did not mind that they are putting their lives on the line. to die on the ground was the
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worst thing for them. he gets more and more notice, neil armstrong because of his cool head and his grace under pressure. he knows how to inject himself properly and land by parachute. by all reports, he is calm on all things. as calm as can be.
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he gets picked because he is not in the navy. here it is, 1967-1968. after the tet offensive, johnson gets his administration destroyed. nixon wanted to have a civilian in space. he did not want to militarize it. there are debates what to put on the moon. some wanted a united nations flag. neil armstrong did not make that decision and i once interviewed hugo chavez. he said, neil armstrong never went to the moon. he was a real nut, hugo chavez. it got wrinkled up. it looks like it is blowing. it is stationary and had wrinkles that made it look like the wind was blowing. hugo chavez thought it was staged on a hollywood lot.
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he is not alone. there is a group of people who think that apollo 11 was forged or faked on a hollywood back lot. conspiracy theorists. i asked mr. armstrong if he ever looked up. he said, no. the reason i went that way with him was because most of the astronauts almost had a religious or spiritual experience. they were aiming for the moon and what shocked them was the beauty of earth floating out there, looking so vulnerable.
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no borders of countries or city lines. backof the astronauts came with a very religious feel for it. , in the william anders apollo eight and 1968, famously took that photo -- earth rise. it is the most famous environmental photographs ever. it shows part of the moon, and then you see earth there. this becomes the ubiquitous photo, and we forget that we are now starting to see the planets in color. like whole earth catalog begins. modernople will say the environmental movement begins with these photographs of earth, we thought we were dealing with the moon, but it's really earth that moves people. armstrong was selected around the time when mixing comes in,
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around nixon's inaugural in 1969. armstrong was elected to be the commander of apollo 11. the first lunar mission. he had flown over 200 different models of aircraft, including x 15 rocket planes in the x one b. the drum rolls begin, it's a big deal going all the way into that summer of 69. 9:32 a.m. eastern , andard time, armstrong other astronauts lifted off from .ennedy space center in florida and off they go. -- everybodyple crowding around in florida to try and see this. all sorts of people. the whole world watching.
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there are wonderful reports to read about all the build up for the six ordinary moment. most of us say i remember it, but what we remember is watching tell usnkite go in about it. we were all pulling for this adventure at a time when america is being told part -- torn apart. lied, youngjohnson people to like old people. civil rights going on, all of this turmoil. and they were all in it together, they were all pulling for these three men to make it to the moon. pass into its gravitational influence, the pull of the gravity of the moon on july 18, it ended up circling the moon twice. armstrong and aldrin entered the lunar module, named eagle. and this was disconnected from the larger command and service model columbia.
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cronkite was giving all of the other networks too, which is focused on him because he had the most rated. they were playing duke ellington. -- they hadple people that had science fiction writers coming in and talking. they have a lot of time to kill is the big moment arrived. p.m., eastern17 daylight time, on july 20, a major portion of the moon's population from all over to been to armstrong -- tuned in it to armstrong's radio transmission, reporting that the eagle has landed. they landed on the moon, they only had 40 seconds of fuel left. it was a very touch and go situation in some ways. we alls that moment that
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are member, when the door opens and strong famously said that's one small -- one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. i asked him about that. let's listen to the clip.
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what are those issues i am going to confront five years from now, 10 years from now? how do i think more strategically about america's role in the world? >> former undersecretary of defense, michele flournoy, on sundayation of cnas, night at 8:00 eastern and q and a."on "uma -- " >> a visit to the cia museum, work the curator presents collection highlights and explains the museum's mission of preserving and presenting agency history. crocs we are standing here in the memorial lobby of the original headquarters building.
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